HTC's U12+ flagship is official, with a top-rated camera and squeezable sides
Even by 2018 standards, we knew a lot about the HTC U12+ before it was officially announced, but now it's here for real: HTC's 2018 flagship smartphone brings with it a tall 6-inch screen, top-end internal components, and a dual-sensor rear camera for superior photo-taking on the go.
The screen is the first feature you'll see, and with the 6-inch, 2,880 x 1,440 pixel LCD display, HTC has opted for an 18:9 aspect ratio. The bezels at the top and bottom are respectably slim, but there's no notch as there is on the likes of the OnePlus 6.
With its curved, shiny glass back, the HTC U12+ follows the design cues of last year's HTC U11 and HTC U11+, but it's slightly taller and not as wide. At the same time, it's also a little thicker and heavier, though not by much.
And if you're worried you've missed the HTC U12, you haven't – HTC says it's going straight in with the Plus model this time around so consumers aren't wondering if another flagship will be on the way later in the year. This is very much HTC's top-end phone for 2018.
The Snapdragon 845 chip running everything matches most of the other premium phone launches we've seen this year, and HTC has combined that with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB or 128 GB of storage (which you can expand via a microSD card if needed).
As for that 12 MP + 16 MP rear camera, it includes both optical image stabilization and some software trickery to make sure your snaps stay super-sharp. The 12 MP camera offers an aperture of F1.75, while the 16 MP one provides an F2.6 aperture and 2x optical zoom.
HTC is promising great results from the rear camera, and it's been deemed good enough by independent specialists DxOMark to jump right in at second place in the overall smartphone league (behind the Huawei P20 Pro).
HTC brings back the Edge Sense technology we saw debuted last year, letting users squeeze the sides of the phone to take photos and videos, zoom into maps, and set up a variety of other customizable shortcuts.
And as usual, the phone maker hasn't skimped on the audio. With BoomSound and Qualcomm's aptX HD audio tech built in, the handset should be capable of producing some high-fidelity sounds whether you're blasting them through the integrated speakers or listening on Bluetooth headphones.
In terms of raw specs, the HTC U12+ certainly holds its own against the other flagship phones launched this year. How well its camera and on-board sound system perform in the real world could go a long way to making it a hit or a miss, while its tight integration with the HTC Vive Focus might be an added bonus to tempt potential buyers.
It's not cheap though. The HTC U12+ is available to pre-order now for US$799 for the 64 GB model and $849 for the 128 GB version. You can pick it up in Ceramic Black, Flame Red, and Translucent Blue, depending on where you are in the world.
Product page: HTC U12+